We created this blog to tell The Crazy God Story of our Waiting Years (2009-2014) and our transition to Tennessee (by way of Colorado). Now, the stories of what God is doing also include personal stories of folks in the area…and those aren’t ours to put in a blog. 🙂
So, we’ll hang up the blog for now.
God continues to keep us totally dependent on Him, and, one day, we’ll be able to blog the family stories that can’t be told yet becausethey aren’t finished. But, to tell the truth, are just as fantastic as those already told.
As it stands this March of 2018, we’ve been in TN a year and a half. We have a small sweet shop (Downtown Sweet) in historic downtown Jonesborough, TN, where we sell pralines & chocolate and I teach piano lessons. I’m also doing some gardening jobs (my dream job). We meet with a little church
that started upstairs in our shop and work with other churches and leaders in the area. We are seeing God work in many lives. We still homeschool, the kids have made friends, & Laura is doing some doula work & childbirth classes. We’re now praying/working on getting our own home, a step that I feel will help us settle and rest better.
Our only big plan is to continue to follow Jesus as He leads us day by as He always has.
As He does or will with you.
He’s good to know. He’ll surprise you.
And sometimes you’ll think you’re crazy.
Then you realize HE’s crazy. 🙂 Out of our box. And you’ll love Him for it.
We have been in northeast Tennessee six months now! We thought we would spend the first year getting to know people, setting up a family business, and praying/listening a lot. Well, all of that has happened and even more so than we expected!
What’s in this update:
We’re opening a downtown shop!
What we are doing in TN
Meeting with LXI
OPENING A SWEET SHOP!!
The newest venture? We are opening a sweet shop called Downtown Sweet in the small town of Jonesborough, the oldest city in Tennessee. WHAT?! It’s located in one of the tiniest shops on the main drag of the historic downtown! It is at the heart of the area we are called to and
we are very excited! Feeling like it was time for us to begin a business that would provide our family with consistent occupation, productivity, and income, we began asking the Lord this fall for direction. The shop idea came about when a pastor had invited Davy to meet with him at the local coffee shop. While there, the coordinator of downtown approached Davy, “Are you the praline people?” (We had started selling our pralines in a few local shops.) She told him that the chocolate shop on the street was moving to California and wanted to know if we would be interested in opening a storefront there. Davy said he normally wouldn’t have given the idea of a sweet shop a second thought, but we had been praying specifically about a business. There is much more to this story that shows the hand of God and the fight back of the enemy, but it would be a long one. So, long story short, after much prayer and discussion between us and our close friends and family, we became confident this is the direction the Lord wanted us to go and signed the lease agreement. The biggest pull was actually not the business (though we expect to enjoy it and for it to do very well), but the opportunity to develop relationships. We have seen open doors in relationships just in the starting of our shop. We have been very warmly welcomed by our shop neighbors and are excited to work alongside them! The shop also has an upstairs room that the believers in the area can use to gather in prayer, reading the Word, worship, and encourage one another. The apostle Paul made tents to help support himself. We will make sweets. .
“SO, WHAT ARE YOU DOING IN TENNESSEE?”
How many times have we heard, “So, what are you doing in TN?” Well, we have more clearly defined what we are here to do. All of the areas cross one another, but we’ve narrowed it into 3 things.
1. Be the Church: As believers, WE are the church. Christ’s body and bride.
We will be part of a close, local group of believers that we meet with and “do life with” frequently. We hope this is a lovely, laughing, crying, encouraging one another in the faith, and listening & following Christ, our Head, community. As throughout history, we expect this body to go through seasons of growth and “sending out” to spread the good news and power of Jesus Christ.
We also want to work with the body of Christ in this region of TN. We are one team. Our goal is the same: grow the Kingdom of God. It’s a mission. And often it’s war. We want to work with other leaders and pastors to do this and fight the good fight.
We want to acknowledge and support the body of Christ across the nation and the globe. That sounds big. But we can do our small part. We are extremely grateful for the believers in Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Colorado who have supported us in many ways to get us here. We want to do that for others. We also keep tabs on and pray for those we know serving him Uganda, Africa. We expect God to continue connecti
ng us with those He wants us to support.
2. Make Disciples: from sharing the story of Christ to the lost all the way to mentoring the believer to be “sent out” as disciple-makers themselves. This will take on different shapes and sizes depending on how God leads. It may be daily or weekly prayer, Bible studying, worship, and/or encouragement. It may mean working together and playing together. It means meeting people where they are. It means us growing in Christ, too. It might be through an official “501c3” organization and/or it may be just along the way. It means following the Holy Spirit’s leading in all things.
3. Care for the Hurting:
When the disciples sent Paul out to the Gentiles, one of the few things they mentioned was “care for the poor”. All through the Bible, through Jesus’s time on earth, the poor, orphaned, widowed, imprisoned, foreigners, and oppressed were important to Him. So many scriptures that speak our God’s heart for these people. There are so very many needs out there and we could pick any and all and go after them, but it is important to follow Christ’s example and do only what the Father tell us to do. As we follow the Holy Spirit’s leading, we can be confident we are caring for those we need to care for. And when each member of the body of Christ follows our Head, it’s a beautiful well orchestrated thing!
We will begin meeting with LXI’s leadership each week. For those of you who do not know, this fall we met the young leaders of this group, and Davy began meeting weekly with one of the guys. There are serving Christ by loving on youth in the low income government housing of Johnson City. Some have even moved into the neighborhood so they can be regularly in the lives of the kids there. You can check out their website at http://www.movelxi.com. We are very excited to join these guys, to walk alongside them as we watch what God does here. In addition to bearing the burdens of at-risk youth, many are in the season of life of new marriages, starting “careers”, and starting families. It is such a sweet time of life.
Davy meets new pastors and leaders regularly, continues to learn about and join what God is doing in the body of Christ in the region, and meets weekly with church leaders in the area to pray and encourage/be encouraged in the faith. He also led several churches in worship, which is always a joy for Him.
On the home front, we are all doing well. The kids are as energetic and creative as ever. Our house is always in a mess with some project, be it Knex, legos, or cardboard & duct tape. Schooling is picking up speed again after the holidays and we are starting to learn about activities in the area. Well, I think those are the happenings of the last 6 months!
-For God to bless our business. For investors. For relationships through it. (If you are interested in investing, read more here. If you’d like to donate, as some have asked, you can give here.)
-For the Marooney family settling in here and LXI leaders ministering to at risk youth. For us to lead as Jesus desires.
-For our friends in remote Uganda who are walking a hard life but seeing people come to Christ and warring tribes come together as new believers in the family of God. Pray for their strength and for them to continue in the faith, depending solely on Him. Pray for the Karamajong tribe who are new believers starting to share their faith with fellow Ugandans. Most of them do not read and are learning the Bible stories by heart and retelling them by memory. There are many challenges yet they are starting to see sweet fruit. Catch them on Facebook here.
Birthplace of Davy Crockett, and (we’ve been told) Granny Clampett from “The Beverly Hillbillies.” 🙂 So, we are cool, indeed.
After a lot of prayer and searching, we rented this farmhouse built in 1900 with plenty of room inside and out for homeschooling, church meetings & guests, and business. We did a lot of cleaning and some painting to get in and can’t have too many appliances running at the same time or the house goes black, 🙂 but it’s a great place for us this year.
GOOD FOLKS HERE
God has been kind in giving us great connections. We have met several pastors and church leaders in the area who have believed our crazy story (!) and accepted us as friends and allies in the Kingdom. I’ve gotten to lead worship at a great church who have welcomed as family. I’ve also been welcomed at pastors’ meetings and even been invited to speak next month. So, we’re grateful for these relationships that the Lord has started and the Kingdom-minded, Jesus-lovers we’ve met.
Well, this one’s taking longer than I want, but we’re slowly getting ready to make pralines here. We’re still a couple of weeks and inspection away, but when all is done, we’ll be able to sell wholesale and retail from our home kitchen. We’ll also be able to start the art biz again soon. I’ll send website addresses again when those are up and going.
We’re continuing to ask Jesus to show us those who don’t know Him and our place in introducing them. I’m thinking He’ll give us more on that in another couple of weeks when we’re better settled. I’m really looking forward to those conversations.
I’m looking forward to relationships with hurting people who start to follow Christ and grow to know Him. This will take time, but it’s our Father’s heart, and we (and lots of you) get to be part of the journey.
So, we’re grateful to finally be in the place the Lord has been leading us to for years. Two years ago when Laura asked the Lord how long this whole journey/waiting/thing was going to last, He said, “Seven years.” Interestingly enough, when we moved into this area at the end of August, it was seven years and a month since He spoke and started this crazy journey in 2009.
Our Father has a plan. And He will see it through.
Are you in the middle of a situation or a year or a decade that seems off God’s radar or slipping His notice? It surely can feel that way, but it’s not true. He sees and knows, and one day you’ll see how good the plan was.
Fun, successful, tiring, and encouraging: that was the month of June.
A beautiful army of 15 adults and 18 kids from our River Churches family helped load us into the Penske truck to leave Colorado at the end of May. We had a gathering with these folks in some form or fashion every night the week before we left. What a great community.
Here’s the rest of the month of June in pics:
And, so, there’s the month in pictures. I wish we had pics of ALL the people we saw along the way. That way you could see how the Lord went ahead of us to arrange this whole month; we were able to reconnect with way more folks than we thought we’d be able to, representing over 30 years of relationships. And we were encouraged to hear how God is teaching His children so much about Himself and those He loves, all over the U.S. from Colorado to Tennessee to Mississippi & Louisiana.
As the move gets closer, we want to communicate more of what is in our hearts these days…what the Lord has taught over the last 7 years of craziness and how that affects what we dream of Him doing in Tennessee.
(*If you’d rather hear my lovely voice, here’s me teaching this in more detail at a great church in Colorado: Dead and Alive.)
I learned something seven years ago that broke a sin cycle in my life. You know what a sin cycle is, right? You sin…feel guilty…grovel…vow to never do it again…do it again. Then it all starts over. Continue reading →
Mr. Kenny Moore is a 75-year-old phenomenon, retired Director of Missions for the Colorado Southern Baptists. He leads horse-back hunting expeditions in the Rockies, competes with his dog in agility contests (his dog competes, not him), and he loves to talk about what Jesus has done. We especially spend a lot of time talking about who we are in Christ (see “Dead & Alive” blog.) He is a great mentor to me, and I am grateful our weekly conversations will continue in Tennessee.
Chris Hartman is a man prepared. He loves gear…outdoor, camping, adventure-type gear. And He loves Jesus. He’s an apprentice with Advance Him, like we are (were), and he and I met each week to read the Bible & pray together. Great guy. As part of his apprenticeship, he just moved to Uganda for 6 months, and he asked me to be his Advance Him “mentor.” Boy, was I honored. Before he left, we made a deal to trade work: I would create a painting for him, he would create a leather journal for me. Super-great!
We want to start, little by little, as the move gets closer, communicating more of what is in our hearts these days…what the Lord has taught over the last 7 years of craziness and how that affects what we dream of Him doing in Tennessee.
It’s exciting stuff. Life-changing stuff for us and, we believe, those whom God puts in our lives in Appalachia.
We bet you’ll like it, too.
So, we’ll start that soon.
DOLLARS AND CENTS UPDATE
Prayer for provision for the move is full-on!
Moving/Settling Expenses: $6500 needed – $2600 promised = $3900 to go
Monthly Support: $2000 needed – $1150 promised = $850/mo to go
Some folks enjoy giving to or praying for a specific need. Here are some specific needs (and hopes) that aren’t yet met, both financial and prayer. If you commit to any of these giving/prayer needs, please contact us and let us know which one(s) specifically.
a team in TN: like-minded families/individuals who want to see the Kingdom grow
open doors into the community
open doors into people’s lives as we immerse ourselves in the community
success/favor in praline and art businesses (see below)
the right house in the right rural community
for God to connect us with the “lost sheep” of the community
Provision for moving, settling, ministry, businesses, giving, and living.
Moving Truck Rental, cross-country: $2100
hotels, 3 nights: $180
Gas: $500 moving truck/$200 van
Keyboard: $1300 or used keyboard equivalent to Yamaha P-255 for worship/music at church gatherings, coffeeshops, backyards, wherever.
Our businesses we are growing for ministry opportunities and sustainability for our family (fancy term for giving or investing in such as this is “Impact Investments”):